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Smart cards to control energy consumption

Week 25, 2007

The first one was set in Iran, even if one would suppose oil in Iran is far from being in short supply. The objective is to ration fuel consumption, as Iran lacks refining capacity: the petrol consumption is 79 million liters a day while the refining capacity is 44 million liters  a day. Even if it exports tons of crude oil, Iran imports about 40% of its gasoline. Then, due to government subsidies, it is sold for IRR 1,000 (EUR 0.08) per liter.

The plan is to deliver cards to drivers that will allow them to obtain a limited quantity of fuel. Then they will be able to buy more fuel, but at a higher, not subsidized, price.

The rationing project is a bit late, as is the smart card issuing process, but the plan is there nonetheless.

In Malawi, BP has gone from a system of paper vouchers to a smart card-based electronic fuel smart card system. Starting from there, a website has been launched to provide meaningful fleet management information for both BP and its corporate clients. BP smart cards are PIN protected, and a common blacklist is managed by all the BP petrol stations in the country. Over 900 organizations are already on the BP smart card system including many government departments, major banks, and corporations, NGOs and small to medium sized organizations.

Theses examples in very different countries, with very different standards of living, demonstrate an untapped market for the smart card: replacing the "ration stamps" that had been known not so long ago.

As oil will be becoming scarce on a worldwide basis, a whole new market segment is to be developed selling smart cards for oil rationing… if we can still find oil-derived plastic to manufacture these cards.

Smart cards will be in a positive light, helping to reduce worldwide energy consumption.

Thierry Spanjaard
Chief Editor
Smart Insights